Rising a couple of places in the division standings sounds like a good way.
McCaffrey scored the game-winning goal for the Worcester Hydra in the 70th minute and Alencar Junior scored his fifth goal of the season as the Hydra beat CFC Azul, 2-1, Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Willowbrook Park in a battle of two first-year clubs.
McCaffrey subbed in after halftime and broke a 1-1 tie off a corner kick from Bruno Bonicontro. The ball found McCaffrey at the end of the box and he headed it in past Azul goalkeeper Matthew Sangeioty.
“It was a good cross from Bruno and my only chance to score is really on corner kicks, so I tried to get up and it was the perfect ball,” said McCaffrey, who will be a junior midfielder at Boston University in the fall.
McCaffrey hadn’t scored a goal since October of his freshman season.
“It felt good,” he said. “It’s been a while. I didn’t really know how to celebrate.”
His first goal of the season boosted the Hydra (3-2-2) to third place in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the PDL, one point behind the Ottawa Fury, who the Hydra host next Sunday at 7 p.m. at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium. CFC (2-3-3) is fifth in the division, but is just two points behind the Hydra.
Goalkeeper Oliver Blum made one save while several key players returned to the Hydra lineup, including defenseman Chris Ager and midfielder Colin Murphy.
Junior made his return to the lineup after receiving a red card in last Sunday’s matchup vs. GPS Portland, which forced him to miss Wednesday’s game vs. the Western Mass. Pioneers.
“They make a difference,” Worcester head coach Elvis Comrie said. “They’re extremely good players. They’re a joy to work with and they bring something extra to the table, so when they are out there, you notice a difference. To their credit, they make us a little bit better.”
Junior made an immediate impact on his return to the lineup, scoring his fifth goal of the year, which puts him in a tie for eighth place among the top goal scorers in the PDL.
In the 20th minute, Michael Bustamante sent a long pass down the field to Junior, who dribbled the ball past a defender and sent a shot from 13 yards out into the back of the net for an early 1-0 lead.
“We missed him last week,” McCaffrey said.
Seven minutes later, Junior had a chance for another goal when he was one-on-one with Sangeioty, but his shot deflected off the crossbar.
CFC, who has scored the most goals in the division, played without leading scorer Ryan Kinne, who played with the New England Revolution’s reserve team. Eddie Floyd tied the game in the 37th minute off a pass from Conor Doyle.
Sangeioty recorded five saves and saw 11 shots.
The game featured two of the three teams playing in their first season of the PDL (the Boston Victory are the third). CFC led the Hydra by one game in the conference entering the game and could have moved up to second place with a win.
“I think the boys knew the significance of what we needed to do for getting the win, and we stepped up,” Comrie said. “We showed a lot of character.”
*written by Matt Eisenberg